Over the past couple of years, I've put myself out there. I've done things I felt led to do, I did things that scared me silly, I pushed myself. Nothing worked out as I'd hoped, not even the minimum I expected, but it's all for a higher purpose. I know this.
I know this.
At times last year I felt broken, sad, wondering why things didn't work out with that particular path no matter how hard I tried. What the purpose of all of it had been. At times, I just wanted to give up, stop trying to fulfill whatever measure of my creation I'm meant to fulfill, because man, it hurt.
Then something whispered gently to my spirit, all this has been to prepare you for what's next. As time goes by, I see this. Even though what I tried to do didn't work out, I did get to fulfill a dream I had since I was a teenager, even for just a short time. And in the ending of that chapter of my life, I discovered what makes me happiest, what needs to be my main focus, the biggest part of my life besides my family and church--my writing. I also learned that while I have children at home, I don't have time for both dreams, and the one that burns in my soul the most is to fully embrace being a writer. My husband even told me last fall, "You never were so happy as when you were writing." He was absolutely right.
I am a realist, and I know this path is not going to be easy. I'm taking this one project, one day at a time. Though writing and rewriting and editing are hard, I love it! Even when I want to toss my stories in the fire, by the next day I feel them pulling me back. I get feedback from other excellent writers, and it's so much fun to see where the stories need to be tighter, a bit more detail added, sentences deleted. The crafting of it appeals to me so much! Then there are days I've been in a panic because I wonder what on earth I'm doing; how could I be so presumptuous to think that I could write a decent book, let alone expect anyone else to read it? My husband and friends support me in this, but still, can I do this? Really?
Then that quiet voice whispers to me, you can do it. You work hard, you will do it, and there are people who need the stories you create.
I'm entering a first chapter contest for the LDS Storymakers Conference in April--something I was way too scared to do four years ago--and I've signed up for a submission workshop in which I'm submitting the first ten pages of my middle grade pirate story, along with a query, to an agent. And not just any agent, but an agent who appears to fit just with the kinds of stories I love to write most, and that's not all. He's my favorite author Brandon Sanderson's YA agent for one of my favorite books: Steelheart.
This should be the scariest venture of my life. Somehow, though, I'm not as afraid as I'd thought I'd be. Yes, Eddie will critique the crud out of my submission, and it'll be passed around to seven other writers in the workshop (only two of whom I know in person, one happens to be one of my critique partners, and another nice writer I'm Facebook friends with). I'll just work on my submission really hard, have no expectations--I'm allowing myself to dream a little, but I have no illusions--and see where all of this takes me. I'm trusting I'll learn what I need to learn and grow in the direction I'm supposed to.
So, not only do I have a word for the year, brave, but I have a theme song as well. I'm embracing what it fully means to be a writer--the awesome, the tough, the ups and downs--and this is where I want my future to lie. I'm going to say what I want to say, and let the words fall out wherever they land. Then I'll pound them into shape.
If you haven't watched the video, it may bring a smile to your face. With my love of dance and considering how my path changed (those of you who know me will probably get it) I smile extra big.
I'm also including a version done by BYU's a capella group, Vocal Point. It's incredible! I listen to both versions over and over.